Surge Protective Devices Onboard Vessels

MarineLink.com
Monday, April 08, 2013

Surge protective devices (SPDs), more commonly known as surge protectors or power strips, help protect electronic devices from being damaged from excessive currents and allow the delivery of power to multiple devices simultaneously. This safety alert addresses the use of certain electrical protection devices onboard vessels and the inherent risks they may cause. Most commercially available SPDs are designed for use ashore and will interrupt only the hot conductor when a surge occurs. What does that mean for the ship owner/operator? It means that while these devices may provide protection in our homes and offices, these same devices may be fire risks onboard vessels.

A marine casualty investigation of two separate stateroom fires onboard a U.S. Flag Container ship revealed that the sources of the fires were attributed to the use of SPDs plugged into a lighting circuit. It was discovered that a ground had developed on another circuit that was connected to the same distribution panel providing power to the staterooms. This ground created an imbalance of voltage between the two power conductors supplying the SPDs which caused excessive currents, overheating, and subsequently, a fire. In this instance, even if the SPDs automatically tripped as designed, only one power conductor would have been secured while the other would continue to provide power, possibly shorting to the device's ground wire and the structure of the vessel.

For shipboard applications, it is critical for a device to interrupt both power conductors. Underwriters Lab Standard - UL Marine 1449 - addresses this issue and applies to the use of SPDs.

The Coast Guard recommends that vessel Owners, Operators, Class Society Surveyors, Insurers, and other inspection personnel examine the risks associated with the use of SPDs aboard their vessels, and if necessary ensure their organizations have policies and procedures relating to their use.  Vessels should have defined procedures for checking the condition and grounding capabilities of personal/portable electrical equipment, and trained shipboard personnel should be assigned to check and approve all SPDs in use or brought on board for compatibility with the vessel's electrical distribution system prior to use. Routine checks of switchboard and distribution system 120 VAC ground detection systems are necessary to detect the presence of grounds that may cause similar circumstances with non-marine type SPDs. These recommendations are not mandated, rather just an advisory based on lessons learned from the casualty.

www.marineinvestigations.us
 

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Marine Electronics

More VDR Orders for Danelec in China

Danelec Marine has received orders to supply Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) and Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) for 18 offshore support vessels in China.

Seafarers Beware – Social Media Ahead

Videotel, part of KVH Industries, Inc., has launched a new program, Social Media at Sea, addressing the unique dangers of inappropriate use of social media by shipboard

Jacksonville Adds PORTS Real-time Data System

Officials from NOAA, the Jacksonville Marine Transportation Exchange, and the Jacksonville Port Authority officially dedicated a new information system today

Maritime Safety

Police Kill 2 Kenyans Suspected of Planning Ferry Attack

Kenyan police said on Friday they shot and killed two armed men suspected of planning an attack on a ferry in the port city of Mombasa after one of them tried to hurl a grenade at approaching police.

Eliminating Cat Fines to Marine Diesel Engines

One can assume that P&I Clubs and shipowners would be very interested in preventing catastrophic Cat Fines damage to diesel engines. Cat Fines have been damaging

MOL Commended with Quality Ship Awards

MOL Commended for ‘FY2013 Best Quality Ship Award’; MOL president Koichi Muto meets with captain and chief engineer, exchanging views and working to establish a more solid safe operation system.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1109 sec (9 req/sec)